Lenin Collected Works: Volume 36: Preface by Progress Publishers

Lenin Collected Works:
Volume 36

Preface by Progress Publishers

Volume 36 Contains some of Lenin's writings from 1900 to 1923. A large part of the volume Consists of his letters directly Connected with the letters, telegrams and notes printed in Volumes 34 and 35. The letters for 1900-03 to P. B. Axelrod, G. V. Plekhanov, V. P. Nogin, S. I. Badchenko, P. N. Lepeshinsky and P. A. Krasikov, Yelena StasoVa and others show Lenin's Varied activity in Creating the first all-Russia, illegal Marxist paper, Iskra, and the journal Zarya, and throw light on his struggle against “Legal Marxism” and Economism. The letters for 1903-04 to G. M. Krzhizhanovsky, V. A. Noskov, V. D. Bonch Bruyevic,h, G. D. Leiteisen and others relate to Lenin's struggle against the disrupting and disorganising activities of the Mensheviks after the Second Congress of the Russian Social-Democratic Labour Party.

The correspondence for 1905-07 sheds light on Lenin's activity in connection with the calling of the Third Party Congress and the fulfilment of its decisions.

The documents for the years of reaction show the measures taken by Lenin to resume publication of the newspaper Proletary in Geneva and improve the work of the Central Organ, and his struggle against open and undercover liquidationism and the attempts to distort the theoretical foundations of the revolutionary Marxist party.

A number of documents reflect Lenin's activity in the International Socialist Bureau.

A large number of letters during the years of the First World War addressed to V. A. Karpinsky, A. G. Shlyapnikov, Alexandra Kollontai and others deal with the resumption of publication of Sotsial-Demokrat (the Central Organ of the Party), the rallying of internationalist elements, and the exposure of social-chauvinism and Centrism in Russian and international Social-Democracy. The question of calling the internationalists' conferences at Zimmerwald and Kienthal is a prominent one in these letters.

A considerable part of the documents in the volume represent spadework done by Lenin—plans, summaries, outlines, theses. Among them are the “Preliminary Draft of the April Theses", “Plan for a Report on the Seventh (April) All-Russia Conference of the R.S.D.L.P.(B.)", “Draft Decree on Consumers' Communes. Preliminary Theses”, “Material for the Fourth (Extraordinary) All-Russia Congress of Soviets", “Notes on the Question of Reorganising State Control”, “On Polytechnical Education. Notes on Theses by Nadezhda Konstantinovna*", [* N. K. Krupskaya.—Ed.] “Notes for a Speech at the Tenth Congress of the R.C.P.(B.) on the Substitution of Food Requisitioning by a Tax”, “Notes for a Report at the Second All-Russia Congress of Political Education Workers", “Notes on the History of the R.C.P.", “Notes for a Speech on March 27, 1922", “Notes for a Report 'Five Years of the Russian Revolution and the Prospects of the World Revolution'", and “Outline of Speech at the Tenth All-Russia Congress of Soviets”.

The volume includes 59 works (marked with an asterisk in the contents) which were first published in the Collected Works in the Fourth Russian Edition. Three letters to G. V. Plekhanov—November 9, 1900, July 13, 1901 and December 1, 1902—relate to the period when Plekhanov was a member of Iskra's editorial board. They draw attention to the need to repel the efforts of some members of the board to weaken Iskra's fight against opportunism and revisionism, and give details on the preparation of material for the various issues of the paper.

In a letter to Karl H. Branting on April 19, 1901, Lenin invites the Swedish and Finnish Social-Democrats to establish closer relations through contributions to the newspaper Iskra and the journal Zarya. Lenin points out how important it would be for the Russian people, the Russian workers in particular, to be informed about the political state of the people of Finland amid their struggle against tsarism.

The volume includes the “Preface to the Speeches of Nizhni-Novgorod Workers in Court”, written before December 1 (14), 1902. In his letters to the secretary of the British Labour Representation Committee, dated March 23 and May 20, 1905, Lenin gives an account of the disbursement of the money sent in aid of the families who had suffered on “Bloody Sunday” (January 9 122 1, 1905).

In a letter to Lydia Fotieva on June 1 or 2, 1905, Lenin tells of his intention to give a lecture in Paris on “The Third Congress and Its Decisions”. The article, “The State of Affairs in the Party”, written in July 1911 during the preparations for the Party Conference at Prague, deals with the struggle against the conciliators and their Menshevik and Trotskyite allies, who were trying to prevent the calling of the Conference.

Eight letters addressed to the editorial board of the Bolshevik paper Pravda (five in October and November 1912, and three between February and April 1914) show Lenin's guidance of Pravda, which brought up a whole generation of revolutionary Russian workers known as “Pravdists”; the letters deal at length with the work of the editorial board in connection with the Fourth Duma election campaign.

The volume includes nine articles written for Pravda in 1912 and 1913 but not printed at the time, and 16 articles published in Pravda in 1913 and 1914, part of them unsigned, part over various pen-names, and which were only established as belonging to Lenin on the strength of fresh archive documents.

His articles “After the Elections in America", “More Zeal than Sense” and “In America” expose the deception of the masses by the bourgeois parties, and the cynical and dirty trading in “party principles” during the elections to secure the fat jobs in the Administration. Lenin showed how the American multi-millionaires under the pretext of providing external defence for the state, were in reality defending the interests of the capitalist monopolies; he explained that the workers of all countries stood for peace, and that imperialist wars waged in the interests of the Capitalists involved tremendous sacrifices.

In a number of articles, Lenin analyses the working-class movement in Germany. The proletariat's growing indignation against the imperialists and the plunder of the masses by a handful of capitalist arms manufacturers is described in “The German Social-Democrats and Armaments”. In “Lessons of the Belgian Strike”, he examines the general strike by the Belgian proletariat in April 1913 to back up their demand for universal suffrage. “The High Cost of Living and the 'Hard' Life of the Capitalists” and “Capitalism and Female Labour” deal with the plight of the workers in tsarist Russia and give a vivid description of the enrichment of a handful of capitalists and the impoverishment and ruin of the masses of working people in capitalist conditions.

Included for the first time in the Fourth Russian Edition of the Collected Works are the plan for a lecture on “The Russian Revolution, Its Significance and Its Tasks”, delivered at Zurich not later than March 27, 1917; a letter to Giacinto M. Serrati of December 4, 1918; “Draft Third Clause of the General Political Section of the Programme (for the Programme Commission of the Eighth Party Congress)", showing the essence of proletarian socialist democracy and its basic distinction from bourgeois democracy; a telegram to Bela Kun of May 13, 1919, with greetings for the Red Army of the Hungarian workers and peasants, and a letter to Bela Kun of June 18, 1919, warning him not to trust the Entente,* [* See Note 260.—Ed.] which was only trying to gain time to crush the revolution.

A group of documents (December 31, 1920-August 5, 1921) deal with the manufacture of electric ploughs.

In a letter to the chairman of the State Bank, A. L. Sheinman, on February 28, 1922, Lenin points to the defects in the work of the State Bank and the need for a more careful selection of personnel. In a letter to N. Osinsky on April 12, 1922, Lenin underlines the importance of studying and broadly popularising advanced local experience.

The volume includes documents dictated by Lenin in December 1922-January 1923: “Letter to the Congress”, known as the “Testament", and letters “Granting Legislative Functions to the State Planning Commission” and “The Question of Nationalities or 'Autonomisation'".

These works lead up to Lenin's last writings, which are of programme significance: “Pages from a Diary", “On Co-operation", “Our Revolution (Apropos of N. Sukhanov's Notes)", “How We Should Reorganise the Workers' and Peasants' Inspection (Recommendation for the Twelfth Party Congress)" and “Better Fewer, But Better” dictated in January and February 1923 and published at the time in Pravda (see present edition, Vol. 33).

In his “Letter to the Congress” Lenin emphasises the need to preserve the Communist Party's unity, and proposes practical steps to ensure it, enhance the Central Committee's prestige and improve the Party machinery. Lenin proposes that the number of members of the Party's C.C. should be increased to between 50 and 100. He describes the personality of some Central Committee members, and points out Stalin's defects and suggests a discussion of the question of replacing him by another comrade as Secretary General.

In his letter “Granting Legislative Functions to the State Planning Commission” Lenin points out the need to extend its terms of reference and tells of the political and business qualities its leaders should possess.

Of great importance is Lenin's letter, “The Question of Nationalities or 'Autonomisation'", written before and during the First Congress of Soviets of the U.S.S.R. It vividly brings out Lenin's role as the true inspirer and creator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and his concern for a correct national policy and the strengthening of the U.S.S.R. He demands the application of the principles of proletarian internationalism and the strengthening of the friendship of all the peoples of the Soviet Union, great and small.

He condemns the Great-Power deviation in the national question as the principal danger at the time, points out the harmfulness of Great-Power and chauvinist distortion of the idea of unifying the Soviet republics, and denounces the excessive centralism and bureaucratic practices in this sphere. He stresses the need to ensure full and effective equality of nations, to exercise skill in conducting the national policy and take account of the particular features and interests of the various nations, and to strengthen the sovereignty of each republic as a necessary condition for the people's unity and fraternal friendship.

* *


The works of Lenin included in Volume 36 are given in chronological order, with the documents sent from abroad dated in the New Style.

The volume contains an index of names identifying the assumed names used in the text.

Previous | Next
Lenin Collected Works | Lenin Internet Archive